To the untrained eye, it may seem that only large companies need SEO. Local SEO Services – Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
In today’s mobile-centric world, brick-and-mortar stores also need to keep their digital presence up to date.
But how to do that?
Well, if they already have a website, the next logical step is to optimize for local search.
While traditional marketing tactics can still be the most effective channel for attracting new customers, there is something to be gained from availing local seo services in almost every niche these days.
As Internet search has become ubiquitous, people of all ages have become more accustomed to searching for information on the Internet. It is clear that almost every business will benefit from an online presence in one form or another.
Local SEO is hardly a new practice. You may have already read some of the articles or did so a bit when you created your website.
Trust me when I tell you it’s worth revisiting. The landscape is constantly changing, as are the rules. So, today we are going to talk about the 6 essential elements of your local SEO.
But first, let’s see how local search actually works.
How does Local Search Work?
When someone goes to Google and searches for a company in a particular city or region, they will get local results. Makes sense, right?
These local results are usually displayed on the right side of the SERPs and are referred to as the “local package”.
Therefore, as a local business owner, it should be clear to you where you want your business to appear. Right on top of that local package (if not in the top 3 of the organic search results themselves).
As you might have guessed, the amount of traffic for any position in the SERP, including the local package, can vary quite a lot.
Unfortunately, the cost of the top slot of the local pack dropped noticeably when Google introduced ads in the local pack.
These ads appear above true local listings and they can really cut down on organic CTR.
It’s also a problem that the original results of the local package have dropped from seven to three.
Users can still view all seven results, but they need to click a button to see the full list.
Because of these changes, local SEO is only getting tougher and more competitive. It goes without saying that there will always be change on the horizon.
The pace of change is still lightning fast when it comes to the Internet and search technology.
Depending on how these platforms develop, local search engine optimization could easily become even more complex than it is now.
This is the real reason you want to get your local SEO in order as early as possible. Nobody wants to play catch up for years.
So now that we have a solid understanding of what local SEO is, let’s look at the 6 must-haves for your own local marketing strategy:
Perform On page SEO
If you are unfamiliar with on-page SEO, click this link and read on! This is critical to the success of any search engine optimization campaign.
However, the best practices are slightly different as they relate to local search marketing. To begin with, you need to take into account the type of your business.
Is your business a restaurant or store that people will visit physically? Or are you the type of business that goes where your customers are? Examples of the latter are repairmen, plumbers, and the like.
As for the former, it would be much easier for you to optimize your website based on the location where your store is physically located.
By simply adding your store’s location (city, state, and zip code), you can greatly increase your chances of getting into a local package.
Consistency is key. Make sure your name, address, and phone number are the same everywhere on your site (and in all listings in your directory).
Local businesses offering their services in different locations have a slightly more difficult task. To be precise, these companies often want to create pages on their site that are optimized for each local area in which they provide services.
Whether you serve multiple cities, states, or districts, having individually optimized pages for each can make a big difference in your SEO results.
Quality Link Building
Many local businesses don’t invest enough (or any) in building links to their website.
This is a huge mistake! Link building has gotten a bad rap in recent years. But that’s because many SEO companies and practitioners abuse it.
In fact, links are still the most important off-page ranking factor. The key is to do it responsibly and focus on getting relevant and quality links. We are not talking about buying links from Fiverr users. Do not do this!
Running an effective and sustainable link building campaign is never easy. While there are countless tactics you can apply, it all depends on the niche of your business in the end. Therefore, not all methods will work in different industries.
In some cases, you will want to create high quality content. You can actively approach content creators to get a link or mention of your own content.
You can also use PR opportunities and social channels to increase your inbound links.
The bottom line is this: Building high-quality links will improve your visibility in local searches. Click to tweet
To learn more about how to safely build links for your local business, check out this post on Moz. It is full of great ideas that any local business owner can implement (no SEO experience required).
Create a Google My Business Account
If you want to improve your position in search rankings, be sure to sign up for a free Google My Business account .
This will protect your local business listing on Google and even create a short and attractive business page.
So what does it give? First, it’s your way of making your business known online and confirming that you are indeed the owner.
You will then be able to upload images that best represent your business and brand. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.
You can also create a compelling description, validate your business name, address and phone number (NAP), and more.
Another benefit that comes with Google My Business is the ability to collect all online reviews of your business.
Social proof, which we’ll talk more about later, is a huge factor when it comes to generating leads.
This is tangible evidence of how hard your business is working to please customers. Don’t overlook this advantage, it can easily help or derail a sale.
For more information on how to activate your Google My Business page, check out the additional literature on the Search Engine Watch site .
Update Quotes and Lists
As you start building your online presence, you will likely find yourself creating social media accounts. You’ll also see a lot of tips for building local listings to help grow your online presence.
In short, this is wise advice. Search engines make sure to consider the quantity and quality of your links and listings.
In addition, the accuracy of the information provided in these quotes is critical.
The key to building citation (and maintaining) is persistence . As you can imagine, if your details don’t match in the business listings, Google won’t be sure which information is correct.
This can lead to unfortunate circumstances where the search engine may get the wrong address for your business, go to a web page with a 404 error, etc. Bad results.
So stay tuned for updates on your announcements. If your business moves to a new address or you change phone numbers, update your lists and accounts accordingly.
Displaying the correct NAP on the web will help potential customers find your business without any hassle.
Create Social Proof
Peer referrals are perhaps the most important factor when it comes to sales.
Instead of trusting a brand that tells us that their services are great, we like to hear it from the customers themselves. Unbiased and objective reviews will always be more persuasive than advertising texts.
So it’s no surprise that public review sites like Yelp can make a big difference for many small businesses.
But before you can start to reap the rewards, you need to find customers who are willing to write reviews for you.
There’s nothing wrong with asking them directly for feedback , but you’ll find that most often don’t have the time, patience, or motivation to see things through.
One alternative is to use a service like Yotpo, which can help you get feedback from your customers more effectively. They also have some additional proven review creation methods that might be worth considering.
After you collect some reviews, be sure to see how customers rate your product or service. If the reviews aren’t as good, it’s important that you deal with them in a timely and professional manner. The public and modest responses of business owners can often save that business from a bad name.
Develop Social Signals
There is a debate in the SEO world about what impact (if any) social media can have on organic rankings. But let’s save that for today’s discussion.
Regardless of the impact on actual rankings, social signals are certainly important for local business owners and their online presence.
First, many search engines check to see if a business has an active Facebook or Twitter profile as a preliminary step before considering a visit or purchase.
What’s more, posting valuable content on social media can increase your visibility, attract new fans, and build loyalty.
All of this creates a ripple effect of co-citation and brand mentions that you might not otherwise be able to produce.
At a minimum, be sure to create social media accounts on platforms where you are most likely to find your customers. As with local citations, make sure your information is consistent and includes recognizable brand images.
As you’ve probably figured out by now, local SEO marketing isn’t easy at all.
There are many best practices to learn and use, but we strongly encourage you to do just that. This holistic approach can help you present your business more reliably to your target audience.
Remember that the best practices here are not limited to link building, as in an online store.
Instead, you want to use some additional channels, including social media and more traditional marketing methods.
Such is the nature of local SEO. Yes, it’s challenging, and the landscape is constantly evolving. But it’s worth the time and effort.
Follow the 6 tips above and we hope to see your company in a local package soon!